I know this thread is very old, but I would like to put my two cents in. Firstly, it is not illegal to remove asbestos from your own home. It is only illegal to hire someone who does not have a license to remove asbestos. You can do whatever you want to your own home without a license.
Okay secondly, I have a home with a gravity furnace, in which the ducts in my basement are wrapped in asbestos. I have had quotes from Heating and cooling companies to remove the asbestos and install a furnace starting @ $5500. On the other hand if I didnt have the asbestos in my basement I could have a brand new furnace installed for $600, including removal of the old one. In these economic times, I cannot afford $5500. I cannot afford the $400-$550 a month energy bills I have because of the un-efficient gravity furnace either. I am in the same situation of the poster of this thread. I am going to have to take on this by myself. NO IT IS NOT ILLEGAL. My city home inspector told me that when I bought the house 8 years ago. I plan on cutting the ducts before where the asbestos starts, after wetting them. Put the whole duct (6-7 foot long) in a bag. Take the bag outside where I will put in another bag, and duct tape the bags closed. I will properly dispose of them. In my area there are many waste management companies that will take asbestos for little or no fee. Then I will demolish the beast of a furnace that its my basement and install a new one, in which I will need a permit for to have it installed.